"And our time is flyin'
See the candle burnin' low
Is a new world risn'
From the shambles of the old

-Led Zeppelin
'The Rover'

(Not really applicable to this part of the story; just thought the sing was cool and would like to point out that Zeppelin kicks ass)

Oh, and all remarks made about Wisconsin are totally justified. I spent the first three years of my life there, so I'm able to poke fun at the state all I want.

Part 5

Needless to say, Dave never found the right moment to tell Lisa how he felt. He was beginning to think that there never would *be* a "right" moment. Dave figured he'd just blurt out something at the most inopportune time possible and hope that Lisa still harbors some kind of feelings for him. Dave was starting to feel a little dejected as he realized the longer he waited, the greater the chance that Lisa would lose interest.
"This is the 'little' radio station-slash-newspaper Mr. James bought?" Dave asked, trying to sound upbeat, as Lisa pulled into the parking lot of the massive building.
Lisa giggled. "Yeah. C'mon, Dave, you should know by now that his definition of small is quite different from ours. Remember that cabin of his that he mentioned before he retired?"
"The one that she showed us the floor-plans for?"
"Yeah... he complains that's too small on account of it only having one kitchen."
Dave shook his head in disbelief. "He *is* still retired, right?"
She nodded. "Uh-huh, although you'd never know it. The man has no concept of what the word 'retire' means. He still hangs around the offices- matter of fact, he had the paper moved into the story above the station just so that he could spend time at both places and only have to leave the building to go home. Jimmy spends considerably more time at the station than he does with the paper's staff." Lisa got out of the car and looked at her watch. "11:27. Not bad."
Dave closed his door. "Yeah, you can really cut down on commute time by ignoring the speed limit- an especially smart thing to do in the snow."
She laughed. "So I'm a bad driver. Big deal." Lisa said casually as she walked over to the passenger side of the car. "You know, everyone's going to be *so* surprised when they see you."
"They knew I was coming up, didn't they?"
"Well, yeah, but I don't think they thought you'd hang around the office for the day."
"I can't wait to find out how everyone reacts to Matthew," Dave said, thankful that it was no longer his problem.
"Oh, that's right," Lisa whined. "Today's Matthew's first day. Oh, this *will* be fun."
Dave snickered. "Hey, I had to deal with Matthew by myself for all that time- at least you have people who tolerate him working for you!" he pointed out.
"Thank God for small miracles... but you *do* realize that this could very well bring back the chaos of WNYX?"
"Then let *them* deal with it!" Dave said. "That's what's so great about being boss- you can lock yourself up in your office and ignore the staff for as long as you want!"
Lisa laughed. "Glad to see you're so concerned about it."
He just chuckled again. "It's not my problem. I don't have to be concerned."
They walked in silence for the rest of the way, until they had almost reached the entrance of the building. "Watch out for the patches of ice," Dave advised Lisa. "Especially in those shoes of yours- heels are almost a guaranteed twisted ankle during winter."
"I know. I'm always careful walking into this building." No sooner had Lisa responded when she lost her footing and fell hard to the frozen ground. Dave had to suppress a laugh. Before her could say anything, Lisa looked up at him and said, "You say anything, you'll have the heel print of a size seven pump in the middle of your forehead."
"Are you okay, Lisa?" Dave asked, grinning, as he offered her his hand.
"Yeah, I'm fine... just hurt my pride a little," Lisa responded, taking Dave's hand. Instead and pulling herself up, she yanked Dave down with her. "Oh, I'm sorry," Lisa said, sounding as if she was on the verge of laughter.
Dave struggled to his feet and looked down at Lisa. God, when she let her guard down, she was gorgeous. It suddenly dawned on Dave that this was the opportunity he was looking for.
"What kind of gentleman are you?" Lisa said, grinning up at Dave. "Aren't you supposed to help me up?"
"I don't think I can trust you this time." Dave had meant the words to have a playful lilt, but they sounded too serious to even his own ears.
Lisa's expression changed as she looked up at him. "Are you okay, Dave?" she asked, concern filling her voice.
Again, he offered her his hand and this time Lisa pulled herself up so that she was eye level with Dave. He looked at her, as he forgot everything he wanted to say. "Uh, Lisa..." he started. "I'm- um, I'm not real sure how to go about doing this, so I'm just gonna kind of blurt it all out." Dave paused and took her cold hands in his. "I'm still in love with you. I thought I'd have gotten over everything we'd shared and the pain of losing you, but I haven't. The truth is, I think about you every day and-" he was cut off as Lisa silenced him with a short kiss.
"Dave," she said quietly. "I've missed you so much. I know I made a *huge* mistake by marrying Johnny." Lisa grinned slyly. "To tell you the truth, the few times Johnny and I had sex, I'm pretty sure I screamed your name a few times."
He laughed as he pulled Lisa closer. Dave couldn't believe his luck. He silently thanked God as he and Lisa kissed again. She pulled away suddenly. "You know we can't let them see us doing this," Lisa said.
"Why the hell not?" Dave asked, though it came out as more of a whining plea. "They know what went on behind closed doors. This is nothing compared to what Beth used to walk in on!"
Lisa giggled. "Yeah, I almost forgot about that." She paused. "No, but really, we shouldn't let them know yet. We can surprise them later," Lisa reasoned.
Dave muttered an agreement, figuring this was better than nothing at all. They kissed again before entering the office together.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lisa was excited. She couldn't wait for the old WNYX crew to see Dave again. Even the prospect of listening to the staff complain about fixing everything Matthew screwed up didn't bother Lisa yet. Hell, they could have been throwing a toga party and screwing goats and Lisa wouldn't have cared. This was the first time since Johnny left that Lisa could honestly say that she was happy.
"Is it always this loud?" Dave asked, bringing out of her thoughts.
"Huh?" Lisa said. "Oh, yeah. They all figure they'll get more accomplished by making noise and having fun with their jobs. There are a few of those damn Goofy Balls floating around, so watch out for them. They're actually a productive bunch- this is New Hampshire's top-rated station. It's won an ass-load of awards. And Max isn't the only on-air talent- I *think* there's at least seven others. And they all know how to have a great time with their jobs - hey, there's Mr. James. Jimmy! Hey, Jimmy!" Lisa called out.
Mr. James saw her and walked over. "Hey, Lisa! How are ya?"
"Best I've felt in months. Thanks."
"Anytime. Who's that with y- Dave! Dave, welcome to New Hampshire!" Mr. James said excitedly. "How are ya, Dave?"
"Pretty good, Sir. Can't complain," Dave replied.
"Good t'hear... good t'hear." Mr. James paused. "I knew you'd come to your senses and join us here eventually. So what changed your mind?"
"Actually, Sir-"
"I don't let anyone call me 'Sir' or 'Mr. James' anymore- I'm retired, remember? It's just plain ol' non-formal 'Jimmy'. Got that, son?"
"Yes, Mr. Ja- uh, *Jimmy*," Dave answered.
"So what made you decide to leave New York City for beautiful New Hampshire? Finally decided that you wanted that pig after all?"
"Oh, I'm not... I'm not moving here. I brought Matthew's cats up, remember?"
Jimmy's smile faded. "Matthew's cats... oh, that's right. So you're... you're not gonna work here?"
"Fraid not, Jimmy," Dave said.
"Aw, well, jeeze, Dave... ya hafta go an' get me all excited thinkin' that I've finally got the old crew together again just to tell me that you're not really stayin'? Are you tryin' to give me another heart attack?"
"No, I'm- I'm awfully sorry-"
"Excuse me, I hafta go think this over during Cracker Time," Jimmy said, leaving.
Dave looked horrified. Lisa put her hand on his shoulder. "Don't mind Jimmy- he's been really emotional lately. We have *got* to get that man a girlfriend," she said.
"He'll be all right, though?" Dave asked.
"Oh, yeah, sure. Just mood swings. The hockey team he bought isn't doing too well," Lisa assured him.
After Jimmy left, the former employees of WNYX descended upon Dave and Lisa en masse. Matthew was the first one to talk to Dave. "David, where are Choo-Choo and Mitt-Mitt? Are they okay? Did they give you any trouble on the way up here? They're never really good on car trips and don't like strangers too much. Did you need to-"
"Matthew. Your cats. Are fine. Granted I had the most *miserable* experience of my life because of them, but both of you cats are alive and doing fine."
"Oh, thank God." Matthew breathed a sigh of relief and put his hand on his chest. "I am *so* relieved to hear that. I was so worried that something would happen to them."
"No, your cats are fine. They're at Lisa's house right now and you can come get them-"
"You- you left them alone at a strange house with a *dog*?" Matthew said, horrified. "David, how *could* you-"
"Matthew. They will be *fine*. Those are the two *biggest* cats I've ever seen. Daisy is about half their size."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Matthew brightened. "David, thank-you so much for bringing Choo-Choo and Mitt-Mitt up here for me. I owe you."
"No! It's really okay."
"Are you sure? I'm *sure* I could get Mom to knit you a-"
"No, Matthew. You *really* don't have to."
As Matthew wandered away, Beth came up to Dave.
"Dave!" she squealed, as she flung herself at him.
"Hey, Beth. Nice to see you, too," Dave said, returning her hug.
"God, how *are* you?" Beth asked.
"We were all worried that leaving you with Matthew was a bad idea. Personally, I expected you to go absolutely insane and kill half of the WNYX staff with a staple gun. I know *I* would have in your situation."
"Actually, the thought did cross-"
"I mean, I love Matthew and all, but there's a limit. He's kind of like sex- great when you want it, but too much too often- or when you're menstruating- is kind of a drag."
Dave raised an eyebrow. "I never thought of it in such, uh, *colorful* terms," he said uncomfortably.
"I figured. Anyway, if you want coffee, tell me-"
"Thanks, Beth."
"- and I'll show you where the coffee machine and mugs are."
Next Joe walked over to Dave. "Dude, I'm not too big on hugging other guys, but I haven't seen you in ages and I'm pretty sure you're still straight, so I'm willing to make an exception," he said, giving Dave a friendly hug.
"Thanks, Joe."
Joe looked around to make sure that no one was in ear shot. "Hey, I saw you and Lisa on your way in here. Giving it another shot?" he said, grinning suggestively.
Dave and Lisa looked at each other. Quietly, Dave said, "Okay, look, Joe. We *really* don't want this getting around already."
"And we'd appreciate it if you didn't say anything to the staff," Lisa added.
"Okay, but, uh, it's gonna cost you," Joe said.
Dave reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his wallet, removing a few bills. Reluctantly, he handed them to Joe. Lisa had also retrieved her wallet and gave Joe some money.
He clapped them both on their shoulders and said, "Don't worry, your dirty little secrets are safe with me."
As Joe walked away, obviously very pleased with himself, Max came up to Dave. "Hey, Dave, how are ya?"
"Not bad, Max. You?"
Max shrugged. "I have a job. I'm doing what I love. I get a paycheck every two weeks. I have an apartment that allows me to keep a pig as a pet. Life is good." He grinned smugly. "I bet WNYX is struggling without me there, huh, Dave?"
"Actually, Max, the new staff I hired as replacements have done a real great job. They're motivated and hard-working. In the last three months, WNYX achieved it's highest ratings since it's second year and is now New York City's highest-rated AM station-"
"Just as I thought... barely keeping its head above the water. Don't worry, Dave. When WNYX folds, you always have a standing job here."
"Thanks, Max," Dave rolled his eyes as Max left.
Lisa took Dave by the arm and led him to her office. "Where are you dragging me now?" Dave asked.
She smiled at him. "I want to show you my office," Lisa said, her eyes dancing mischievously.
Dave looked at her, a little shocked. "Won't that give your staff the wrong impression?"
Innocently, Lisa asked, "And what impression would that be?"
"That it's okay to carry on office romances?"
"Dave, we don't work together anymore," Lisa reminded him.
"Yeah, well, we *used* to. And that's how the whole thing started!"
"You really are paranoid, aren't you?"
He shrugged. "I blame it on my parents." Dave paused. "Oh, hey, first can you show me where you keep your coffee? I could really use some caffeine right now."
Lisa arched an eyebrow. "I was planning on giving you something *far* more stimulating than coffee."
Dave looked at her. "Aren't you a little sick of doing it in the office? Why not try it somewhere with a little more... oh, I don't know, chance of getting caught?"
"Didn't you just say that we could give my staff the wrong impression?"
"Oh, screw what I said. It's not like it ever makes a difference anyway," he said.
"All right then... how about the break room? People go in there all the time."
He grinned. "Sounds like a plan to me." She dragged Dave into the break room and slammed the door behind them.

Part 5